Disability awareness in Mamelodi schools

Posted on April 19, 2011

The disability day involved the OT students performing plays at 3 schools in the Mamelodi area. The plays were centered around the physical and psychiatric conditions which are evident in the community and how society stereotypically handles people living with disabilities. Lené Wessels, an OT junior lecturer at the university, then explained the different disabilities to the children and handed prizes to those who identified the possibilities in people living with disabilities. The pupils were then given an opportunity to learn wheelchair skills with the students.   

The visit was well-received by the schools as the children proudly displayed their new badges which branded the slogan “4get disability; think different ability”.  This outlined the purpose for the day; to raise awareness of different disabilities in the community and promote the independence of people living with disabilities. Through this initiative, people with disabilities may be encouraged to become active, contributing members of the community without experiencing discrimination due to stigma surrounding their conditions.

The disability day also placed an emphasis on depression in children in high-schools. “It is not necessary for any teenager to commit suicide”, Wessels said to the scholars, “there is help available”. The Itsoseng clinic offers free counselling, and the UP clinic offers free occupational therapy services to those with physical or psychiatric conditions.

Both clinics are situated on the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi campus and are open from Mondays to Thursdays from 09:00 – 15:00.

Photo: Fiona Millan 

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